OneMetal music REVIEW: Sons of Tonatiuh – Parade of Sorrow

Sons of Tonatiuh – Parade of Sorrow

Faithful readers might remember that, back in January of last year, I was particularly taken with Atlanta sludge act Sons of Tonatiuh. Their debut album earned a very respectable 3.5 score at the time but has proved to be a serious grower that’s stayed in my collection and is still often blared at great volume (to the dismay of the church next door) to this day. After vocalist/guitarist Dan Caycedo got in touch to inform me that a new SOT album was in the pipeline for 2012 I kept an unwavering eye on the band’s activity and, needless to say, snapped it up from the OM review list as soon as I saw it!

You often hear of the fabled sophomore syndrome in which bands with an outstanding first album tend to lose momentum with the second, but fortunately Sons of Tonatiuh seem to have dodged that particular bullet. Parade of Sorrow is a different animal to the eponymous debut album, for sure, but it’s a natural progression that simply takes all that was good from its predecessor and builds on it. It still has a raw, abrasive sound (thanks in part to unfussy production by Kyle Spence of Harvey Milk) but has become ever so slightly more accessible. That’s not to say it’s become a comfortable listen, though. ‘Intro’ rumbles into life and builds up into a steady rhythm like the first commotion in a live set that calls spectators from the bar and to the stage, and then ‘White Wall’ bursts in with teeth and claws exposed from the first note, alternating between an almost hardcore-sounding verse and a much sludgier tempo. It has a tiny sniff of latter-day Converge about it, minus the dizzying percussion and Jacob Bannon’s irritating squawk, but the sludge sections are recognisably SOT.

The power of the riff is emphasised massively in this album, a very Sabbathian vibe in particular in the guitar work. Endless articles draw comparisons to Eyehategod but for once this isn’t lazy journalism, for the sinuous riffs may run a clammy finger up your spine but the steady drums hold you down while the vocals slowly peel your face off with the shattered debris of bar fights. The deceptively anthemic opening of the cynical ‘Colors Run Red’ introduces the listener to the new, small element of melody that occasionally crops up in this album. It’s a very brief interval, however, as the song blackens just over a minute-and-a-half in; galloping through a driving and rather danceable sludge groove until finally the vocals of Caycedo and Mike Tunno lament as the track closes. Parade of Sorrow also takes the streak of crust punk running through its forebear and expands on it, the vicious ‘Sea Sick’ in particular pitching and yawing between high-speed clattering and more gorgeously doomy solos.

‘Bizarre Curveball of the Album’ has to go to ‘One By One’, so different from the rest of the album that I confess I had to look up the lyrics to see if it was a cheeky cover. Not so, however – its initial jaunty noise-rock vibe will probably conjure up images of metropolitan folks in Fugazi or Shellac shirts sipping coffee and talking about distortion pedals but this is still the Sons’ own work, and you’re assured of that fact when once an almighty doom riff shoves your face back into the filth just after 3 minutes. And then before you know it the nigh-on 8-minute ‘Fallout’ brings proceedings to an end; chugging, mid-tempo sludge that gradually slows to a crawl, sparse percussion crashing every so often while the shriek of feedback keens high in your ears.

Established fans ought to get a-hold of this immediately – it’s a familiar sound, filth-encrusted and viciously heavy in parts, but the tweaks in melody and sound have advanced it enough to avoid that draggy more-of-the-same feeling that occasionally comes with albums, and you’ll dig it. As for any curious dabblers, get your head around the debut first, and then this will show you exactly how Sons of Tonatiuh have grown.

Sons of Tonatiuh Official Website:
Sons of Tonatiuh Official Facebook:
Hydro-Phonic Records Official Website:
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Bottom Line

Bearing no frills and no pretences, this is a natural progression from last year’s debut that doesn’t rest on its laurels for one second. Fans of up-tempo sludge or crust punk will definitely appreciate this.

4/5 - Great, recommended

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2 Responses to “Sons of Tonatiuh – Parade of Sorrow”
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  • Dan says:

    Thanx Dani! This is the best review so far!

    July 12, 2012 at 12:35

  • Dani Hawkins
    Dani Hawkins says:

    You’re more than welcome! More, please!

    July 18, 2012 at 14:23 OneMetal Team Member